Great article on “America’s Favorite Poison”… you know, the stuff they still dump in Roses Lake?

I think many people feel share these common feelings that I have:

  1. Our the Federal Government is not acting fast enough to eradicate dangerous herbicides and pesticides.
  2. Big chemical companies make tons of money, and will go to great lengths to conceal truths about their dangers.
  3. Apple growers and others in the agricultural industry won’t quit using these until the government forces them.

The main subject of this article, “America’s Favorite Poison Are millions suffering needlessly because the EPA hid the dangers of Roundup?”,  is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. It has been getting a ton of negative attention lately because some ugly facts have come out.

The article points out some shockers: “Monsanto asked the Environmental Protection Agency to seal the biotech giant’s studies on glyphosate”.

Ouch. And then of course, “Scientist Anthony Samsel, with the assistance of his U.S. Senator, was finally able to obtain these secret studies in 2015, he discovered that lab animals fed even small amounts of glyphosate ended up with cancer and tumors in virtually every organ and gland[2].”

This kind of slow-to-move attitude by our government reminds me a lot of the highly dangerous and toxic chlorpyrifos, which is about to get banned. The EPA was dragging its feet on banning. The EPA actually got sued to take action by the Pesticide Action Network, and now it is about to ban Chlorpyrifos.

Did I mention that Roundup is so popular, they dump this crap in Roses Lake. Apparently the waterfront property owners don’t want their little lake to have smelly algae or be murky. They’d rather have cancer-causing poison. A word to the wise, Roses Lake has already been pummeled by decades of DDT and lead arsenate, and that junk has stuck around. I would never eat the fish in this lake.

 

roses-lake-poision

 

EYE IRRITATION? This stuff has been shown to cause cancer, autism and other horrible things. When will our government pick up the pace and start protecting us?

 

 

Why don’t apple growers want to go organic?

spraying_apples_pesticide_washington_apples

spraying apple orchard in spring
spraying apple orchard in spring

sprayer3

What is “Organic”? The State of Washington defines it as “Organic is a labeling term that indicates that an agricultural product has been produced by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Use of sewage sludge, irradiation, genetic engineering, and most synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is prohibited.”

The 101st congress of the United States layed out the official rules for organic certification in the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

Congress found that “consumers are demanding fresh and processed foods produced using organic methods“. Way back in 1990! Imagine that 26 years ago we were seeing Organics positively trending, and enough to gain congressional attention.

Turning to Organic methods seems like common sense for Washington apple growers, doesn’t it? Not using harsh synthetic pesticides seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? Especially when your house is in the middle of your orchard, as most houses are in Central Washington.

Most apple growers have children, and raise their children among the orchards. So why would they knowingly use things like chlorpyrifos (proven to lower the IQ of children, and cause developmental issues ) so extensively? Dr. Philippe Grandjean, MD , of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA, calls chlorpyrifos a culprit in the “pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity“. Whoa. Did you just read that? It’s got my attention:

Strong evidence exists that industrial chemicals widely disseminated in the environment are important contributors to what we have called the global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity.6, 7 The developing human brain is uniquely vulnerable to toxic chemical exposures, and major windows of developmental vulnerability occur in utero and during infancy and early childhood.8 During these sensitive life stages, chemicals can cause permanent brain injury at low levels of exposure that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult.

 

Are you paying close attention, conventional apple growers? Do you need any more evidence or reason to go organic?

 

Some growers won’t go organic, even in this day and age, and with all the evidence. We’ve been researching the issue for some time.

 

Here are some common excuses that conventional apple growers make for not going organic:

 

  1. There’s a lot of paperwork and red tape to growing certified organic. Our answer: Yes, there is certainly, and it’s a good thing because quality control measures like these keeps the “Organic” label on your food a thing of integrity. It maintains consumer confidence. Just because organic certification is difficult, or time consuming, or takes paperwork, isn’t it worth it? Not to spray yourself, your family, and your environment with poison? It may not be easy doing all this paperwork, but it is the ethical thing to do (and the healthy thing for yourself, your workers, and your family!)
  2. It takes several years years to turn a crop organic. Our answer: Yes, it does. But look at what other successful organic growers like Jim Koan did. Start now, so that you can have a healthier family, home, and community. Again, the time argument…. not it’s not the easy way to grow apples. But it is the ethically right way.
  3. It’s not as profitable. It would cost us too much and we couldn’t afford to turn organic. Our answer: Conventional growers you have two options here… keep blasting chlorpyrifos into the air, keep creating an unethical product laden with pesticides, or do the ethically and morally correct thing? Change is scary. Embrace it. You could actually make more money growing Organic apples. According to this article in Forbes, “The USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) of organic apple producers found that most farms chose organic methods because they could increase their income.”   But even if you didn’t make as much money growing organic… Money isn’t a good excuse for justifying poisoning your family. Sadly, it will take government intervention and the changing of laws to force most apple growers to go organic. Most growers, stuck in their ways and stubborn, won’t voluntarily chance the possibility of risk in turning organic. It’s new, and takes learning new methods, which is not always easy. Change can be scary.
  4. Consumers will only buy large, beautiful, blemish-free apples at the grocery store. Our answer: Yes! This has been true with most consumers. Over the past 50 years, they have been trained to accept nothing less than a picture perfect fruit. Organic apples are most often smaller; not what the average American is used to seeing. But let’s be honest, conventional apples are unhealthy, unnatural Frankenstein creations. One part pesticide, one part herbicide, and one part fertilizer, and add a little wax on there to make it shine. Consumers have been taught to recognize a freakishly produced, terrible product, just because it is visually appealing. I mean… have you ever tasted a Red Delicious? It tastes like crap! Mushy and flavorless. But it’s the apple so often used in pretty pictures and marketing. Let’s eat with our brains, not with our eyes… The good news is that people are rapidly already changing their perceptions, and demand for organics is rapidly growing. It’s not such a crazy concept if an article in USA Today reads, “Organic farmers face growing pains as demand outpaces supply“.
  5. But you still have to spray organic crops. Our answer: Yes, you do. But not with harsh synthetic man-made pesticides. The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 stipulates that  synthetic substances are prohibited, and non-synthetic  substances are allowed for use in organic food production. The point is that you don’t have to spray crops with harsh, horrible man-made pesticide crap from companies like Dow Chemical or Wilbur Ellis. Crap like chlorpyrifos, which was originally developed as a nerve gas in WW2 era, and converted to agricultural use as an insecticide postwar.  Chlorpyrifos is extremely toxic to children, and drastically affects their development. You get to spray them with gentler things, like stated on the WSDA’s permitted substances….  Seaweed and fish extracts, and that’s a big step in the right direction. A product called “Bugitol” is on there as a pesticide. It’s made from Capsaicin, an active ingredient in Chili Peppers. Sounds fine to me, and a whole lot better than that chlorpyrifos garbage.
  6. You can’t get a decent crop yield from organic apples.  Our answer: You may indeed get less of a yield. The USDA data said that “organic yields for fresh-market apples were 18 percent lower “. So yes, organic may have a lower yield, but size isn’t everything. Bigger yield and more profit does not justify the use of horrible pesticides like chlorpyrifos (proven to disturb the brains of children). Although the “biggest yield” might be the best thing for your profit margin, is it the best thing for human health? The community? Children? The environment? Will consumers even continue to buy your conventional apples? (The answer is no, the USDA is even giving you a clue: “While U.S. acreage and production of apples has declined in recent years, consumer  demand has spurred a fast-growing organic apple sector. “)  And lets face it… the only reason we are able to grow acres and acres of visually perfect conventional apples is… you guessed it, the modern chemical industrial-complex. Conventional apple growers are creating a chemically engineered product that is totally unnatural; it’s not at all what nature intended.
  7. Organic fruit can still has pesticides on it. Our answer: Yes, nothing is perfect. Natural pesticide residue can be found on organic produce, but its a heck of a lot better to have chili pepper residue on my apples than synthetic organophosphate pesticides that disrupt child brain development. Pesticide drift also happens, and it can unfortunately affect Organic fruit. But as Civil Eats points out “In most cases, even certified organic produce is not pesticide-free. But compared to most conventional produce, it can mean a big step in a less-toxic direction.” Organic is better. Why wouldn’t we all want a better, healthier way?

 

I stumbled upon this healthy lifestyle blog, Wake the Wolves, which gives some reasons why you should eat organic apples. One of the best and most common sense “Organic apples taste better.” They also spelled out the pesticide issue in plain speak, “Apples are highly contaminated because of the pesticide spraying process. Tractors are driven directly next to the apple trees with a mechanical spraying device that shoots out large even spurts of pesticide to coat the leaves AND the exterior of the fruit. This pesticide adheres to the skin and even seeps into the core because the concave shape near the stem creates a perfect bowl-shaped vessel.”

I think I will subscribe to that blog!

Let our own blog article be a word to the wise. The apple industry will wake up one day, just like it did with the Alar scare of the 1990’s, and will be forced to go entirely organic. Many growers won’t like it. Many will be confused and bewildered, and many will go belly up.  Most will have ignored the warning signs, like this blog. So do the smart thing and convert to organic now. Organics will be government mandated someday, and all consumers will demand it that their fruit be organic. Blogs like this will educate and pave the way. Documentaries (like the dozens on Netflix) will show the average American what’s wrong with the food system. The time will come.

Wait a minute? Why am I talking about this day as if it is in the future? It’s already here.  Pay attention guys, the USDA is even giving you a clue: “While U.S. acreage and production of apples has declined in recent years, consumer  demand has spurred a fast-growing organic apple sector. ”

That same USDA article even says that “organic produce continues to show double-digit  growth”. bigger industries have been disrupted more quickly than the $2.18 billion dollar apple Washington industry. (Which is a paltry sum in comparison to other industries). Take the taxi industry for example. If you told taxi drivers 5 years ago that Uber and Lyft would completely disrupt and change their way of life, would they have believed you?

Actually, that’s not so much a clue, as a giant red flag. Time to wake up conventional Washington apple growers!

UC Davis Study: organic fruits and vegetables have more nutrients

Stumbled across this study from UC Davis. It was also published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. There is a great quote next to a picture of a strawberry, “Strawberries grown without pesticides contain up to 19 percent more natural antioxidants.”

WOW. 19% more natural antioxidants? To me that’s awesome. Organic is really worth the extra money you pay.

You can check it out here: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/organic-and-sustainable-foods-have-more-polyphenolics-linked-health-benefits

My take-away? Seems like common sense to most folks that organic is better. But to me, this study is just more real, scientific proof that organic is better for you.

 

Why doesn’t the Washington apple industry go organic?

Fresh organic farmers market fruit and vegetable on display

 

 

Wake up Washington apple industry: Consumers want apples without pesticides

manson_chelan_apples_washington_pesticides

The proof is here. Buckle your seat belts apple growers! The truth is here in the form of… yes, real evidence. Your customers are catching onto your pesticide use, and they do not like it. This means they do not like your products, and they will not buy your product. So start learning some organic farming, because the future is here and you will need to learn how to adapt. Nasty harsh pesticides are out!

“Consumer demand for food that is not laced with toxic pesticides has risen dramatically”, reads from this absolutely fascinating brief from the University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center’s Food Resiliency Project.

Is the Washington apple industry going to get the message here? Consumers do not want you to spray toxic pesticides on their food. You can argue this point that “they aren’t that bad for you” as much as you like. The people are going to vote with their dollars. Consumer demand is going to rule here, and you will be out of luck when you find yourself offering pesticide-laced products to a populace that doesn’t want them.

Apples_Lake_chelan_washingtonwashington_chelan_valley_wenatchee_apples

 

 

Washington State Department of Health Pesticide Illness Reports

Yeah, its sad.  We have a department of the Washington state government that has to spend its time dealing with pesticide illness incidents. We actually have to collect data on this. And this only reinforces my believe that these nasty chemical pesticides need to go.

Here is the link to the illness reports: http://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/EnvironmentalHealth/Pesticides

apple_pesticides_illness_spray_washingtonapples

Washington state: Pesticides blamed for a recent spike of health concerns

This article Pesticides blamed for spike of illnesses in Washington state was fascinating. They are blaming pesticides for a recent rash of illness, around orchards, in Washington. And the symptoms are not pretty: “…emergency medical treatment due to nausea, vomiting, and headaches.”

spraying apple orchard in spring

And of course, orchards are reported to be the culprit: “As reported by the Yakima Herald, all of the recent drift cases have taken place in areas with orchards.”

pesticides_apples

 

OH! And don’t forget about the birth defect rates in these areas. Sickening! The article goes on to say, “Meanwhile, many of the same counties affected by pesticide drift – including Yakima, Benton, and Franklin – have also reported a spike in a rare and deadly birth defect that triples the average rate seen across the rest of the United States. “

What is going on? Why is the apple industry not more introspective of its effects on the community?

washington_apples_pesticides

 

How many horses did the Washington apple industry kill?

Back in the pre-1950 days apple growers sprayed some pretty nasty stuff on their crops. The dreaded codling moth was the main target. But there was also friendly fire, and resulting were causalities were horses. Yes, horses of yesteryear paid the price for the ignorance of the farmers. Or was it ignorance? It seems to me that there is evidence that people noticed their horses were dying from it. Did they care about the horses? Wellread on. They put muzzles on them to mitigate the problem. I came across this article in the Spokane Spokesman-Review from 1997 where they interviewed an old time farmer named Gene McManus, who was in his 80’s at the time. What he had to say about apple industry early knowledge of pesticide damage was shocking to me.

Check out this quote from the article:

The lead arsenate was considered more benign. When the weather got real hot, McManus and his brother Lyle would often hose each other down with the stuff, he said, shaking his head at an act that seems pretty stupid in retrospect. After all, it wasn’t good for the horses.

“I don’t know if it killed any (codling moth) worms, but it was deadly on horses.” The horses would lose their wind after a few years of pulling the spray rigs. They could hardly walk and would have to be put out to pasture or put to death. Orchardists later learned to muzzle the horses to keep them from eating the sprayed orchard grass.

From what Gene says, they could clearly see that this was deadly on horses.  The quote “After all, it wasn’t good for the horses.” Wait, what? You knew it was bad for them, and you…. didn’t really care?

The later farmers decided to muzzle them. Did they ever consider that the stuff they were spraying could be extremely hazardous to the people handing the apples, eating the apples, etc? Could they not connect the dots? Dead horses=bad chemicals.

The average lifespan of an equine is in their mid-20s nowadays. Draft horses are lucky to make 20. That’s a huge difference between “a few years” lifespan.

This brings up all sorts of questions. Mainly, why the apple industry always seem to turn a blind eye even in the face of strong evidence? Is the almighty dollar that important to them? What gives?

deadhorse

Washington State: they want to pass a bill about pesticide reform

danger_pesticides

Thank goodness we live in Washington State. Our state is socially more aware than many states.

They are trying to pass a bill that protects the health of our citizens: http://www.pesticide.org/protecting_neighbors_promoting_a_healthy_washington

Because, as they say in the article “Drift Happens!”. There are many good reasons to ban pesticide use. The article points out “Chemical pesticides drift onto unintended targets and can leach into groundwater, contaminating it.”

Is our water a good reason? Yes, I think so.

This is a great read, and makes so many good points like, “Drift is indiscriminate and has resulted in acute health injuries, economic impacts and other negative impacts in Washington. In the last 5 years, there has been an increase in acute illness cases in Washington’s agriculture fields.”

chelanfruitapples

 

 

The CDC gets involved with pesticide use and the Washington orchard industry

The US Federal government just got involved with Douglas County, a place with a lot of apple orchards and other orchards. Hey, we know this site is called Washington Apples, but lets make a little fruit cocktail and throw some cherries and pears in! Why not? They all use pesticides.

A certain local newspaper’s article tipped off the CDC to a rash of illness. The CDC website says “20 farmworkers working in a cherry orchard became ill from off-target drift of a pesticide mixture that was being applied to a neighboring pear orchard. ”

I feel bad for those guys. The symptoms were nasty: “Sixteen sought medical treatment for neurologic, gastrointestinal, ocular, and respiratory symptoms. ”

spraying_apples_pesticide_washington_applesThe CDC goes on to point out what I consider to be thenegligence and carelessness of the local orchard industry: “Incidents such as this could be prevented if farm managers planning pesticide applications notify their neighbors of their plans.”

Nice, guys. Which excuse are orchard owners using this time? The “Right to Farm Act”? Does that allow you to spray toxic junk into the air and make people sick with your pesticides? It certainly does not.

And people are not only getting sick from your pesticides, they are getting sick of them! Oregon state residents recently initiated a lawsuit against pesticides use.  And guess what “the pesticide applicator and the aerial spray company he owns have been fined $10,000 each by the state and had their pesticide licenses suspended”.

Apparently, people don’t like toxic pesticides being sprayed. Go figure.

 

 

 

 

Rancid Apples, and a near $100 million dollar loss

I stumbled across this King 5 News segment about how the 2015 Washington apple crop was getting dumped in record amounts. Apparently dump trucks were just heading out near Pateros and dumping the crops. The local bakery in Pateros, WA even complained about having a big fly problem. Watch the news segment here, it is fascinating!

 

http://legacy.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/05/22/apple-dump-across-washington-worst-in-state-history/27823615/

 

orchard_washington_apple

Posts navigation

1 2